Archive for the 'Italian' Category

Cafe Concerto

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

I’ve been meaning to post about this place since my first visit in 2005 and can’t put it off no longer!


Really, I think this is the only “real” italian restaurant in Hilo.  Chef Lando Landi, a native Italian, puts so much love and passion into his food that it creates a wonderfully warm family style atmosphere in his little restaurant.  Cafe Pescatore has nothing on this place. 

The food here is so fresh, homestyle, affordable and unpretentious.  Perfect for a fun romantic date or even a get-together with friends over wine (BYOB!).  There is even a great wine store next door (Grapes) if you need to get a bottle (closes at 6pm).

Fresh Caprese Salad


Super juicy tomatoes with fresh mozzarella and fresh salad. Good stuff.

Penne with Pesto.



Best pesto I’ve ever tasted. Fresh, bright, rich and full of flavor.  Pasta was cooked perfectly al-dente.  I highly recommend trying any of their dishes with the wonderful pesto!

4-cheese Ravioli w/spinach.


This practically melts in your mouth and is soooo delicious.  I could eat 2 (or 4) plates of this!  Nothing beats freshly made ravioli — you gotta try it.

Cappellini w/meatballs


Refreshingly light and bright sauce with freshly made meatballs. I love how they keep their pastas fresh, light and flavorful.

Pasta with clam sauce  (Pasta al vongole)


Very nice  with a kick of spiciness.  I appreciate that the chef was not afraid to make this spicy!  

I can’t forget to mention the bread!  The chef actually brought out fresh loafs and cutted them up for the guests.  The bread was so wonderfully yummy straight out of the oven.  We couldn’t have enough!



Creme Brule


Soooooo so good!  Highly recommended!



Light, refreshing and swimming in rum :) — not too rich like many other Tiramisu’s.

The chef also serves a free homemade “digestive”, sorta like a limoncello, but with his own flavors.  He makes different flavors all the time.  Tonight it was fresh ginger.  Don’t turn down the opportunity to try it! It’s a perfect ending to the meal. :)



If you haven’t yet tried this place, you are missing out.  Definitely one of Hilo’s gems.  A meal for two is well under $40 yet tastes like a $100 meal.

Cafe Concerto
808 Kilauea Ave., Hilo, HI 96720
Phone: (808) 934-0312 (call to check their hours/days open)

Big Island Pizza Deals

Monday, August 20th, 2007


Big Island Pizza has a very good pizza pie and some awesome deals.


The sauce is really great and full of flavor with generous toppings. The crust is also good too, but I have to say I still like Pizza Hawaii’s crust better. In any case, this is way better than Pizza Hut.

Here are some coupons found on Big Island Pizza’s web site. The medium is perfect for two people… or one if you’re really hungry.

Related post: New Pizza Place in Hilo?

Big Island Pizza
760 Kilauea Ave.
Phone: (808) 934-8000
Hours: 11-9 Mon-Sun

Café Pesto

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007

cafe_pesto_outside.jpg cafe_pesto_inside.jpg

What? This place is one of the most popular restaurants in Hilo and I never even covered it yet! I have a backlog of photos of various places so I better start posting more.

Cafe Pesto has always had good food and has a great location in the Historic S. Hata building near the Farmer’s Market in Downtown Hilo. I love how it’s casual yet still fancy… good for a nice dinner date, party or a quick lunch. Ambiance is warm, open, and comfortable. Sounds fill the room with kitchen noises and neighboring conversations.

My three favorite things here are (and they do them very well): Beer, Pizza, and Salad. Yes, I’m a simple guy.

Kona Coffee Beer

There’s a nice variety of beers on tap from local breweries and this is a Pipeline Porter from Kona Brewing Company which has 100% Kona Coffee in it. You really can taste the sweet coffee flavor. I loved it! Very smooth, dark and frothy.


Chicken Lolla Rosa ($10.95) – Grilled free-range chicken tossed with organic baby greens, local sweet onions, vine-ripened organic tomatoes, dressed with a cilantro-caesar dressing. Wonderful combination of flavors. The chicken was flavorful and perfectly grilled. The cilantro-caesar dressing was the highlight of this dish and had a really refreshing dominant cilantro kick.

cafe_pesto_pizza.jpg cafe_pesto_hawaiian_pizza.jpg

Ahhh, the pizzas… the first one is the basic Pizza Margherite with just cheese (12″ for $10.95) and it is a great to have with a salad. The second one is the Pizza Luau, which has kalua pork, local sweet onions and pineapples (9″ for $10.95). Both are excellent. The crust is what makes the pizzas here so good; very bubbly, crusty and chewy. One of my favorite pizzas in Hilo.

Reid from Ono Kine Grindz also went here recently. Service has generally been good the past times I’ve been here, but unfortunately he had a different experience. :(

Café Pesto
S Hata Building
308 Kamehameha Avenue
Hilo, Hawaii
Telephone: 808.969.6640

Aloha Luigi

Monday, March 12th, 2007

Sorry about the camera-phone pics (I didn’t have my camera with me).

Aloha Luigi Sign
Aloha Luigi Inside Aloha Luigi Customer

Serving up Italian and Mexican food is a cute little hole-in-the-wall downtown restaurant called Aloha Luigi. The smell of cheese and garlic smelled so good in there walking by, I had to stop by to try a slice of pizza! Service was really friendly; the man serving us may have been the owner (Luigi perhaps?). Nice guy.

Aloha Luigi Cheese Slice This slice really folds easily

Delicious pizza. Super thin foldable crust, very tasty garlicky sauce, generous amount of gooey cheese. Crust had a nice crisp and bite to it, a different style than Pizza Hawaii, which has a chewier bubbly crust. I really loved the sauce on this… tasted kinda like a tomatoey shrimp scampi (I think it was because of the garlic).

I hope to come back soon so that I can try Luigi’s other offerings!

Aloha Luigi
264 Keawe Street, Hilo, HI 96720
Phone: (808) 934-9112, Fax: (808) 934-9113

Pizza Hawaii

Friday, October 27th, 2006

After trying a slice of pepperoni from these guys at the recent Ho’olaulea, we had to come back for more at their restaurant location at the Puainako Town Center (across Mc Donalds). Plus, Bev found one of these coupons…

96 cents per slice!

What a deal! (not my cow clip holder)

Pizza Hawaii Outside Pizza Hawaii looking in

It smelled so good inside. There were some guys in the back slicing pizzas while a girl was tossing and spinning pizza dough. Another cool thing about this place is that they have a bunch of board games you can pick up and play with at the table.

Connect Four Pizza

These two guys were playing Connect Four as they ate their pizza and enjoyed some beer (I assume this place is BYOB since they don’t offer any liquor).

We ordered 2 pepperoni slices ($0.96 + $0.55topping x 2 = $3.02), an additional “New Yorker” slice ($3.45), and a side salad ($2.95) for take out.

Pizza Hawaii joy!

This is New York style pizza with beautiful thin bubbly crusty crust. Unfortunately, I’ve never tried a “real” New York style pizza, but if the pizza here is any representation of what’s in NY, I already know I love it! The crust is what makes a pizza, and it was fantastic with great texture and bite, especially on the outer ends. In the middle, the crust is very thin, which really brings out the sauce (really rich and tasty), generous layering of cheese and pepperoni. The salad was also very good and fresh. The ranch dressing also tasted really nice… homemade maybe? It tasted really creamy… almost yogurty.

Pizza Hawaii closeup!

I gotta say that this was some of the best pizza I’ve ever had… very likely the best on the Big Island! My other favorite is Cafe Pesto, which is excellent pizza… but it’s just not the same. Big Island Pizza is also good, with a variety of gourmet toppings, but the crust just doesn’t have the same kind of crusty texture as Pizza Hawaii.

I’m so glad Hilo has this place. :)

Pizza Hawaii
Puainako Town Centre
Hilo, HI 96720
Phone: (808) 959-9932
Fax: (808) 959-9566

13th Annual Ho’olaule’a

Sunday, October 1st, 2006

13th Annual Hoolaulea

Hilo town was rockin’ with the best Hawaiian music and sooo much food! It’s amazing how much people gather for this… I’m sure this is the largest event every year on the Big Island. See my last post for an aerial shot from last year. It felt like this year was even huger!

Last year, I had a sad experience: I was so indecisive about what to eat that I ended getting a generic BBQ chicken plate, and after, I had a very empty feeling deep down inside. This year, my strategy changed: walk around and just try a little bit of everything… plus, now that I have a wonderful wife, it’s easy to share portions… quality not quantity, right?

So here is our Ho’olaule’a food adventures!

First, we started off with some pupus.

Poke Your Way Truck Poke Your Way

1/4lb poke ($3.00) from Poke Your Way. What was really cool is that after you order your poke, you can add on what you like to your own poke from a nice tray of condiments (no additional cost). We added in some ogo seaweed, inamona (kukui nuts), green onions, and a chili pepper (this guy is hot!). The ahi was very fresh and nicely seasoned with crunchy hawaiian salt. It was good poke… melt in da mouth kine!

Next, we moved on to Nori’s tent for a bowl of…

Nori’s Saimin Nori’s Sign

Saimin! ($3.00) Man, Nori’s makes a really good bowl of saimin. Their noodles are so fresh tasting — they have a nice chewy texture to them. Their broth is also very flavorful and rich.

Ono Hawaiian Food Lau Lau

How about some lau lau ($4.00)? This was from Ka ‘Uhane Hemolele Ka Malamalama Church… some long da church name. These guys have a lunch wagon right off bayfront. I always wondered how their food is. So how was the lau lau? ONO BRAH! Everything was so moist and there was a nice piece of fat (very important). Nice size too… and good balance of luau leaf and pork. Recommended.

Pizza Hawaii Pizza

Pizza Hawaii had a stand, but I didn’t get to take a photo. We ordered a slice of pepperoni pizza ($4.00), and it was so yummy! I love thin crust pizzas and this one was very thin crust NY style. The crust at the end had a nice bubbly crust too. Excellent… best in Hilo maybe?

We wanted to get some malasadas from that place in Papaikou called Baker Tom’s since I’ve heard they have good malasadas, but they were out! :(

Baker Tom’s Malasadas

So we got some ice shave from Higa’s instead.
Higa’s Higa’s Ice Shave

Vanilla and Strawberry ($3.00). This was almost a great ice shave… the ice was very light, fine shaved, and the syrup was really tasty. But the guy pouring the syrup didn’t put enough syrup and the middle was just ice.

Ok, we are pretty satisfied.

We didn’t have room to try Aunty Peaches “Onolicious Poi Balls”. There was a huge line for this.

Poi Balls

That’s ok. We were so happy that we got to try a lot of different Hilo foods all in one place. So much better than just a BBQ chicken plate lunch!

Aerial shot of food lines

This is how packed it gets where the food is.

Oh yeah, and the music was awesome!

Kapena Kapena Kapena Ho’onua

Kapena and Ho’onua! They were both really fun.

Can’t wait for next year!